Newsletters: Prepare your summer roses – talking roses in September ’14

‘Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ Marcel Proust


The cold front that blew from the Cape to Gauteng last week took over the task of finger pruning in some regions. With -1° C at the farm some of the most advanced stems suffered some minor burning but, surprisingly, those in the Fourways area of Johannesburg seem unaffected. It seems that we cannot escape the global change of the weather pattern and in future it might be safer to delay the pruning to August instead of July. Note the interesting patterns of frost damage on the images.  


Not all tips on same bush are burnt by frost

If such unseasonal frost burnt the new shoots on your roses, do not be in a hurry to cut off burnt tips. Rather wait until the re-sprouting is noticeable.


Wait for re-sprouting before cutting off the burnt tips

The plants in pruned rose beds are by now, or will soon, be clothed with the lush reddish coloured new shoots which are an attraction on their own. Even more so when early spring flowering, compact annuals are planted on the borders. 


Borders of rose beddings planted up with mixed annuals: Larkspur, Namaqualand Daisies, compact Snapdragon & Ranuncula


Compact allysum is fantastic as a border for rose beddings instead of the allysum ‘Snowcarpet’ 

However, beware of a glitch like planting climbing sweet peas in front of roses instead of the compact knee high types. These sweet peas are best pulled out now as well as any other plants that prevent light falling inside the pruned bush to encourage the development of basal shoots.


Sweet Pea’s are smothering the pruned roses

A nice story to repeat: a husband and wife have bet every September for the past ten years as to which of the roses in their garden will have the first flower. The husband has tipped the right rose for the past four years!  They are certainly not growing ‘Fortuniana’ in their garden, which is already in full bloom.


‘Fortuniana’ already in full bloom



Chart Farm is the home of our new ‘Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town’ – stocking selected rose plants and all rose care products.

Official OPENING Friday 12 September at 14h30. EVERYBODY WELCOME!

Meet & Greet Ludwig. First 100 customers get 10% on all rose purchases.

David Molautsi, from Ludwig’s Roses Winelands is excited to take on his new post as manager and looks forward to being of service to you at Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town.

Many Capetonians know Chart Farm with its magnificent view of the Constantia valley. Described as a farm-style retreat from the city, Chart Farm has been the only place in the Cape Peninsula where visitors can pick their own roses with a tea garden and a farm stall.  

Klaassens Road, Wynberg Park, Wynberg (GPS: 34° 0’10.64″S 18°26’58.34″E) Tel: 071 640 9565


Farm: 7 Sept, 10h30

Egoli: Sat 6 Sept, 10h30

Winelands: Sat 13 & Sun 14 Sept, 10h30

Cape Town: Fri 12 Sept, 10h30


We have scouted great private gardens to visit and admire. Join us for our annual rose garden tour.

Both Johannesburg & Cape Town tours include a picnic lunch.

Johannesburg: Sat 18 October. Bus departs Ludwig’s Roses Egoli at 8h30 sharp and returns 13h00. Cost: R330.00

Cape: Sat 1 November. Bus departs Ludwig’s Roses Winelands at 8h30 sharp and returns 14h30. This year Ludwig will be back on board. Cost R360.00

Bookings for both: Petrisia 012 544 0144 |

P.S. Pretorians, this year we will host our first ‘Pretoria Bus Tour’ on Sat 6 December


I wrote about corrective pruning in August. Apparently it was unclear what I meant. Let two year old Xavier show you. This ‘Oyster Pearl’ on a fence was very lightly pruned and it is evident that the very many new shoots cannot possibly all develop into strong flowering stems. Corrective pruning removes the superfluous stems, or those that are too close together; always cutting back to a well developed new shoot instead of into bare wood.


Corrective pruning on ‘My Granny’

Corrective pruning before & after

Corrective pruning before & after

Corrective pruning before & after

Corrective pruning before & after

Finger or pinch pruning is advantageous for the rose and us! It is carried out when the new shoots are at least 15 cm long or have developed at least 5 mature leaves. This stage varies from variety to variety and is best spread out over two week-ends. The images below give an indication of how to do it. Finger pruning is unnecessary on Climbers, Miniatures, PanarosasTM and Colourcape roses.

Early basal shoots on the same plant: the left basal was pruned 2 weeks ago, the right basal was left unpinched.

Finger pruning/pinching before

Finger pruning/pinching after, showing a hard & a soft pinch

Finger pruning before

Finger pruning after

‘Hard finger pruning’ : cut out the candelabra from the centre (before & after)

The now sprouting rose bush tells you about its well-being!

Strong new shoots of reddish, to pinkish colouring – as with ‘Iceberg’ and other white or yellow varieties – indicate that all is well. This means there is enough water and air at root level for microbes to be highly active in converting organics to absorbable humic acids, commonly referred to as humus. Click here for in depth information on this process.


This beautiful, light green new growth is typical for this variety

If the leaves of the newly sprouted shoots are green with very short internodes (the length between one leaf to the next) it means that the roots of your roses are unhappy. The water they are sending upwards contains hormones that instruct the eyes to sprout immediately with green leaves in order to get the photosynthesis process going and provide the roots with extra strength to spread out and find new sources of water and nutrients. Dig around such roses to loosen compacted soil, keeping it well aerated by mixing in compost or peanut shells / crushed apricot pips etc or even to uplift and re-settle it in a larger, deeper hole.

Strong new shoots of reddish, to pinkish colouring – as with ‘Iceberg’ and other white or yellow varieties – indicate that all is well. This means there is enough water and air at root level for microbes to be highly active in converting organics to absorbable humic acids, commonly referred to as humus. Click here for in depth information on this process.


Green leaves, with very short internodes sprouted, but remained blind

The light green leaves tell that the plant is unhappy. Digging next to it, shows that the hole was too shallow

The solution was to dig a larger hole and replant the rose with its root ball still intact. 

Normally roses should receive another nutritious boost by applying Vigorosa by mid/end September. Combined with extra watering it will stretch the stems considerably, as well as encourage basal stems to sprout and result in additional sprouting within the bush. This ensures a more continuous, spread out flowering flush.


What a sterling performer this is! I never hesitate to recommend it as a rewarding container rose or as a border plant in front of taller hybrid teas or floribundas. It grows into a compact, hip-high dense bush that produces clusters and individual blooms on short pickable stems. The shapely, immaculate blooms are in proportion to the bush and the white and pink bicolour is very pleasing. When we got excited with this numbered variety we contacted the creator, Frank Benardella, for a name. He replied that it was his wife that really liked this novel rose type and it should be named ‘June’s Joy’.  


LUDWIG’S ROSES CATALOGUE 2014/15 will be back from the printers next Thursday!


LUDWIG’S ROSE FARMnorth of Pretoria on the N1 | 012 5440144

Witness the rose farm coming back to life, view the azaleas that are still in bloom, and enjoy a morning talking roses and asking me questions at the Spring rose care and finger pruning demonstration at 10h30 this Sunday. Entrance is free.

Azalea AZALEA FESTIVAL – until Sun 21 September


A myriad of different azaleas in full flower, for sale at R60/plant

Contact: 0125440144 |


Sun 7 Sept, 10h30


Apply for the position:012 5440144 |

LUDWIG’S SOLEIL CUT ROSESLynnwood Rd, PTA on the N1 | 012 817 2099

The cut roses in the greenhouses are forming buds and our fresh cut roses will soon be available again. The garden rose plants are looking really good and all the rose care products are available.

LUDWIG’S ROSES EGOLI97 Lachlan Rd, Glenferness, JHB | 011 458 60451

Bring your rose questions and problems to us. Plan your new rose garden with us!

Spring Rose Care Demo: This Saturday at 10h30. Entrance is free.

LUDWIG’S STAR ROSES6 Fraser Rd, Assagay, KZN | 081 380 8496

Thank you for your continual support at our new home in Assagay. The new extensive garden will soon provide a show of STAR performers in the regional climate.

LUDWIG’S ROSES WINELANDSR304, near Stellenbosch, WC | 021 884 4552

A delivery from the main farm has been received! Spring Rose Care Demo: September Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 at 10h30 am.

LUDWIG’S ROSES CAPE TOWNChart Farm, Klaassens Rd, Wynberg, WC | 071 640 9565

I will be at here on Friday 12 September at 14h30 for the official opening of our new Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town. 

My appearance will include a spring care and finger pruning demonstration.


Dates: 28 December 2014 – 5 January 2015

Visit the gardens of Villa Medicea di Castello, the Florence Botanical gardens, food markets and more – whilst living in a villa learning the secrets of basic Italian cooking.

See full itinerary here

Info & bookings: Pamela 0825537555 |


Anticipating the burst of blooms,

Ludwig Taschner